Frenzied rescue after river suddenly bursts its banks

Frenzied rescue after river suddenly bursts its banks
River Mbaya burst its banks, cutting off roads in Kibaale | Alan Mwesigwa

KIBAALE | Kasimbi and Kyebando sub-counties in Kibaale District were thrown into a frenzy Tuesday afternoon after a river suddenly burst its banks and washed away several property and persons, including pupils.

At least three people have so far been rescued, Kibaale Resident District Commissioner Godwin Angalia told Nile Post, confirming that the allegations that up to seven people had been washed away by the raging waters of River Mbaya held some water.

Those rescued after residents poured out to scour the riverbanks for missing persons are currently receiving treatment at Kyebando Health Centre IV, Mr Angalia added.

Mr Angalia confirmed to this website that no life has been lost.

Authorities last evening ordered a head count from nearby schools after it emerged that several pupils from Kisalizi Primary School who were returning home had been washed away.

The disaster was sudden, authorities say, with RDC Angalia adding that the area had not experienced any rainfall on Tuesday.

Residents say the river was calm for the better part of Tuesday, but at around 3pm, a rise in its water level was noticeable.

While many could have ignored, the mystery that followed could not be ignored as the river suddenly burst its banks in the evening, washing away farms in the villages of Kyebando, Kisalizi, Ziranduuru and Kiguma.

Residents along with their leaders from both the district and the sub-counties of Kasimbi and Kyebando spent the better part of Tuesday eveningĀ  wading the flooded riverbanks in search of missing pupils.

Bosco Mujuni, a boda boda operator, narrowly survived being swept away by the waters while washing his motorcycle - which was instead washed away.

"As a matter of fact in pain, but I could respond to save only myself," he said. "My motorcycle, I'm not sure if it's under there [points to a spot] or it was swept away."

Mujuni said water level increased mysteriously even as it had not rained heavily. He claimed it was the second similar occurrence of a rise in water levels at this same spot.

Alarm bells

Peter Kyamanywa, a councillor for Kyebando, was the first to raise the alarm that a group of pupils who had just left Kisalizi Primary School at about the same time River Mbaya had burst its banks.

"Some teachers of Kisalizi Primary School said they had just released pupils back home, and it is said some where at this spot," he said.

"Ddid they run away? We are not sure you know how children behave, they may have been swallowed by the waters."

His pessimism jolted those within earshot, kicking up a frenzy as several locals went into scouring the surrounding areas and the riverbanks for missing persons.

Reacting fast, RDC Angalia directed all schools around River Mbaya, especially Kisalizi Primary School, to carry out a head count of their pupils to ascertain whether there were any pupils missing.

"As of now we know anything is possible, we though pray that it is not is believed, but we can only prove that by having schools count the number of pupils in their schools and connect with parents to confirm if they have their children at home" Angalia noted

The district chairman Godfrey Muwonge said the stretch has long been bad, calling upon the government to increase their road fund to facilitate total overhaul of the infrastructure in the area.

"The roads here are also in a sorry state," Muwonge said.

The overflowing water cut off the road that links Kilasizi to Kyebando and Kasimbi forcing authorities to deploy security to check any reckless human activity.

"It is better to go through the longer route and reach safely, our role as a government is to ensure people are safe, so for now people will not use this route through River Mbaya until the situation has been managed," Angalia said.

The cutoff forced commuters to Kyebando or Kasimbi to use the longer routes of Kibaale Mugarama to Kasimbi and from or Kibaale, Kisalizi Igayaza to Kasimbi.

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